Kelly the Culinarian: Media meal: Restaurant Empire

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Media meal: Restaurant Empire

OK, I'm way too into this game. I'm not a game person. I've had two computers in the past five years and this is the first one I've put any type of game on a computer I own. I probably haven't gotten into a game since Mall Madness.

I got this on Sunday and I'm quite enthralled. It's essentially like the Sims except you're building a restaurant, complete with interior decorations, recipe selection, themes and staffing. It has two modes -- game and sandbox. There's also cooking competitions and challenges built in. I made the mistake of going straight to the sandbox mode and I couldn't figure out what the hell was going on. If you start with the normal game mode, it has a scenario in which it walks you through the entire game and all the functions, which is good, because the game doesn't come with any printed instructions.

So in the game mode, the scenario is that you're a recent graduate of a French cooking school who is trying to revive the family business. In the process, you meet investors, find special ingredients and recipes and open more restaurants. Beware; if you fail at one stage of the game, you start all over again. Bummer.

Here are my complaints -- in the sandbox mode, you can pick your chef avatar. Out of 32 choices, there's only one woman? Really?

Also, there's no printed instructions. I could really use those. If you're using a laptop mouse like mine, it's a little more difficult too, so get yourself a $10 mouse when you pick up this $10 game.

And about these recipes -- I'd like more and I'd like them to be real recipes. They already let you tinker with the quality of the ingredients, why not take it one step further and allow you to change the proportions so there's something real to learn here?

But hey, I guess I'm too demanding of a gamer. It's fun regardless and I'm a big fan. But just so that you know, this is a total time sucker that will pull you in!


Cynthia said...

I got all excited and was thinking of ordering it but I'm going to hold back and I don't have the time to be sucked in!

Frank K. said...

As an avid gamer, and a game designer/programmer, I love to read critiques by non-gamers. Your criticisms are remarkably insightful. I'd love to hear your impressions of other food-based games, such as Cooking Mama.

Larramie said...

What fun and how perfect for you, Kelly. Wonder what the REAL restaurant empire would think of it?

glamah16 said...

Oh this sounds really interesting.Im not into games but this could lure me in.